Archive for December, 2016
A book recommendation from Dan Beaulieu
Sales Success: From the Brian Tracy Success Library
Pages: 121 with Index
Another hit from the Tracy Success Library
This book is the latest addition to the Tracy Success Library. I have found all of these books very valuable and this one is no different. In fact this small volume would make an excellent addition to any sales person’s library. In only a little over 100 pages Tracy hits just about everything you need to succeed in sales.
He covers all phases of successful selling from developing an ideal customer profile, to prospecting to cold calling to making the first sales call to the sales pitch to closing the sales to keeping the customer once you have made the sale.
It’s all here in 21 easy to read and understand short chapters. Tracy gets right to the point which is what I really like about reading his books. He doesn’t feel the need to pad his pages by saying the same thing five different ways. He just gets right to the point.
Chapter seventeen which is about closing the sale has the best advice I’ve seen yet about doing just that. In fact I can picture any of us reviewing this chapter in the car before going into visit that customer with your goal being to close that big order. He list five closing questions to pose to your customer on your way to making the sale.
The Preference Close: “Which if these two choices do you prefer?”
The Invitational Close: “I invite you to try it out for a week.”
The Directive Close: “Okay then the next step is…”
The Authoritative Close: “Just sign here and I’ll take care of the details.”
The Secondary Close: “When would you like to take delivery?”
So if you are in sales you need this book. If you know someone in sales they need this book. It will be the best money you’ve spent on your career this year.
I want you to think about this long and hard. What are you making right now? Eighty grand? Ninety grand? One hundred and fifty grand? It’s a pretty good living.
You go out and do battle in the sales wars every day, trying to make it all work so you can make a little more this year to stay ahead of ever-growing living expenses. You make your calls, set up your appointments, plan your meetings and get your RFQs. Every so often, you pick up a new customer and if you’re lucky your company will pay you a bonus for that.
It’s all part of the selling game. Routine as hell, but you manage. After all, you have to put food on the table right? It’s your job, okay then, your career. You’re doing the best you can.
Sure, sometimes your boss gets on your case. He wants you to make more sales calls or close more business. But for the most part he leaves you alone. And so it goes year after year, always doing the same thing and getting the same results. It’s not a bad life; nothing much changes and you can handle it. You do enough to handle it.
So, now we get to the part I want you to think about. What if things changed? What if you got a new boss? What if someone new bought your company and wanted to raise the stakes, to make sure that your company went into a steep increase in sales growth? Stick with me, because this is going to get interesting. What if this new boss offered you $1 million if you could triple your sales in 12 months? That’s right. What if your boss told you that on top of your normal salary and commissions, you could earn a cool million dollars to increase your sales three-fold, with an officially notarized contract that guaranteed payment?
Are you processing this? Now, think about what you would do differently tomorrow, and the next day, to earn that million. Would you go to work the way you always did? Would you prospect the way you always have? Would you work your 40 hours a week like you’ve always done?
Or would you catch fire and start coming up with ways to change your strategies, tactics and efforts in a way that would get you that cool million?
Here is what I hope you would do:
First of all, you would change everything. You would intensify the good things you do and get rid of the time-wasting things you do.
You would sit down and figure out the best way to get new customers. How would you do that? You would get new databases. You would develop snail mail and e-mail programs. You would develop your own territory marketing plan and not just rely on your company’s national plan. You would plan your day so that you squeeze the most out of every hour. You would kiss your family and friends good-bye and tell them that you would be spending the next 12 months doing everything you could to triple your sales.
And then you would really go to work. You would intensify your prospecting, cold-calling like your life depended on it. You would develop a sales pitch that would be so provocative that no one could possibly say no. In fact, you would refuse to ever take no for an answer.
And you would never let up. You would work day and night to achieve your goal. You would use every technique you have ever learned and then more. You would read and study everything about sales and marketing that you could get your hands on to help make you a better salesperson. You would go to any webinar, seminar, lecture and class that would help you to achieve your goal.
You would become focused to the point of obsession on tripling your numbers and earning that cool million bucks. Isn’t that what you would do? You would become passionate about your job, looking at it as a means to life-changing success.
And in the end, if you did all of these things and if you were motivated and passionate and driven, you would make your goal. You would triple your business in 12 months and you would collect your million dollars.
So, here is what I really want you to think about. If you are sure that you would do all those things, and you know in your heart of hearts that you could earn that million dollars because you have it in you to succeed, then why don’t you do it now? Why don’t you manage your career as if there were a million-dollar pot at the end of the rainbow?
If you apply yourself the way you know you can, you will win. You will succeed and you will make more than a million dollars. It’s only common sense.
Sometimes a rep has to do what a rep has do to
Okay, so now it’s your turn. We have talked enough about making sure that you as a rep make yourself invaluable to your principal. We have gone on ad nausea about the various ways that reps disappoint the companies they represent. So now we are going to switch gears and put that proverbial shoe on the proverbial other foot and talk about when it’s time for you to check out; when it’s time for you to tell your principal that enough is enough and bade him a very pleasant adios amigo.
Sometimes you can pick these things up when you are going through the interview “getting to know you” phase of the relationship. If this is the case. If at any time in the initial stages of the relationship you even come within smelling distance of any of these problems, then get out, do not sign on the line that is dotted, just go away before anything becomes formal.
But as sometimes happens everything is great at the beginning of the relationship but begins to sour along the way don’t be afraid to call it a day.
Here are seven indications that the relationship with your principal is going bad and that you should get out before it gets rotten.
- No communications: When the principal, despite your best efforts stops communicating with you it’s time to start wondering what’s going on. This is especially true if at one time you had a great relationship with her. Try to find out what’s going on. Be suspicious, there must have been some sort of change at the company. Try to find out if you did something to offend the principal or if there is just something you don’t know about and should.
- Poor service: this is the worst of all things a principal can do to hurt you. When you start seeing Quality issues, late deliveries and worst of all a sort of malaise sets in where the principal really doesn’t seem to care that you are out there dodging bullets while he is back in his shop doing nothing about it, it’s time to start thinking about buying your exit ticket because often especially if the principal will not even listen to you when you try to tell her that things are going to hell in a handbasket, it’s time to exit stage left. Look you are supposed to be spending your time selling not apologizing. Do not hang around with a vendor who is not performing, it’s not worth your time an effort and it’s certainly not worth risking your good name, your reputation by hanging around with a loser.
- Losing customers: related to item two, when you start losing customers get out. If you are a multi-line rep, you cannot afford to lose a customer when you are selling other technologies of the same product to those customers. Get out and get out fast.
- Know when to fold them: This is a tricky one. Often reps are held hostage because they brought in a big account and are now in danger of losing a commission stream if they leave too soon. There isn’t much you can do about this. When you find yourself in this situation you obviously don’t have the latitude to leave right away if you ever want to see those commissions so all you can do is lay low, do the best you can and quietly make arrangements to leave. If this is a multi-year contract, then try to make the best of a bad thing. This is the one time you can try to reason with the principal. Try to help him get better. Point out to him that he stands to lose the big account you brought in if he doesn’t fix his company. If he listens to you and starts trying to make things better fine. If not, then start finding another company wo can take over your large account because eventually that poor performance is going to affect that account as well and you will lose it. Protect your reputation at all costs. This is not a good time to go down with the ship.
- You are being phased out: you can tell when this is happening, you’ll feel a sudden chill in the air. Your contact at the principal will no longer be that nice. You start hearing a lot of “what have you done for me lately”. If these things start to occur and you know you have been doing a good job then start looking for a rat to match with that smell because here is what is happening; either the principal has a new accountant who is pointing out that you are making “too much money”, or they have figured out that one of the customers you brought in is growing like crazy and they want you out of the picture before they start paying you a “small fortune”. Whether you like it or not you are going to be let go contract terminated a victim of your own success. First, remember this scenario when signing a contract because this is why you need to find for a longer termination clause. The second thing you can do is go to the owner of the company and negotiate a fair termination that will give you some kind of parting gift or if all else fails call your lawyer. Sorry there is no good and satisfying end to this situation, this is why you need to choose your principals carefully…very carefully
- You’re in shackles: the principal thinks that his company can do everything, every technology, every service every kind of printed circuit boards that money can buy (and he cannot) so that he will not let you have any other lines. Do not ever sign a contract that dictates that you cannot have any other lines of similar but non-competing products, you have to have the latitude to have other non-competing lines that offer different technologies services. Or if you already are in an agreement with a company and they invest in a new technology and now they want you to dump your other line in the same technology, don’t do it. That’s why you have a contract. You should stick to your guns and say you already have someone building that new technology and you are not going to change.
- Non-Payment: when the commission checks stop coming be careful. Call the company immediately and find out what is going on. If you get a reasonable answer from the people you have had a long-time relationship with then maybe you can cut them some slack for s little while. But if you get the sense that the ship is sinking then get out, cut your loses you are now officially working for nothing and you cannot afford to do that. Remember you are an unsecured creditor and if that companies goes under you will get next to nothing if anything at all.
And yes, one more always under promise and over deliver; most of these issues can be resolved if you have maintained a close relationship with your principals. Try to keep close to the owner. Make sure you have a great working relationship at all times. One more bit of advice you might consider adding a single clause to the contract that demands that before any termination by either part occurs both parties must meet face to face and have a discussion about the issues on the table. I had a contact like this once and it really worked. We sat down, had a talk, and resolved our differences. Like everything else if you maintain a good working relationship with your principals, if you stay in touch with them, if your talk frequently these kinds of situations are much less likely to occur. Its only common sense.
Book Recommendation – Sales Management Simplified: The Straight Truth About Getting Exceptional Results from Your Sales Team
From: Dan Beaulieu
Sales Management Simplified: The Straight Truth About Getting Exceptional Results from Your Sales Team
By Mike Weinberg
Pages: 210 with Index
Basic Sales Simplicity
This is the one book that you want to give your new sales manager. This is the one book you want to give to your sales people. Covering everything from how to motivate your sales people…start by not demotivating them! To what exactly you should be doing when you visit your sales person’s territory and spend windshield time with him to how to best spend your time as a sales manager.
Weinberg talks about how not all sales people are created equal and how you have to customize your management techniques for each type of sales person.
He shows you how to evaluate your sales people and yes finally get a good understanding of who the keepers are and who you should cut in the end. Pointing out that most of us spend most of our management time on the people who will probably never be great sales people.
I loved the fact that he talks seriously about tools like CRM software pointing out that in the end all CRM programs are just that tools, something to help sales people not something to take up their valuable time to the point where their daily lives become controlled by the very tyranny of these tools that are supposed to help them be better sales people to deter them from that goal.
This is a basic meat and potatoes book about sales, about going back to the basics of selling and sales management, about direct communications and about in the end finding a way to make that sale.
And in the end it is about making your sales people great making them as that Army ad says “making them all that they can be.” He spends a lot of time talking about instilling confidence in sales people making sure that your coaching is motivating designed to showing sales people the way to becoming strong, confident, effective and successful sales people, sales people who have the ability to bring your company the customers and hence the revenue that you need to be successful.
The ROI on this book will be exceptional I would urge you to buy it, read it and pass it around to the rest of your sales team…and oh yes give a copy to your boss as well. He probably needs it as much if not more than you do.
Did you ever live through something that was so insane, and so stupid that you couldn’t believe it was happening right before your very eyes? I have, and many times. But I’m no different from anyone who has sold PCBs, or anyone who’s spent years in our industry, for that matter.
Then, late at night when PCB sales teams get together with just enough brews to lubricate their tongues, they begin to tell their stories, these tales of terror they experienced over their years on the circuit board trails. So, let’s reach into the vault and pull out a few of these gems.
Are you ready? Remember, these are all true stories.
I once worked with a company whose management did not believe in shipping on time. They made an almost justifiable argument that the customers did not really care of if they got their boards today or tomorrow. They claimed that on-time delivery was well over-rated and that they got along just fine without the bother of being on time. One of the managers was even emboldened to say, “Look, no one is calling us about it, so the customers must be OK, right?” That company went from $9 million in revenue to $4 million to $ 2 million and then, poof! Just like that, they were gone. They were right about one thing: no one was calling them anymore.
Then there was the company that decided to “re-engineer” their entire organization. Certainly an admirable endeavor, that. The only problem was that they shut down their entire operation and spent their days with all of their key people in a conference room, debating about where to put the semicolon in the mission statement. Meanwhile, the phones rang and rang, their customers could not get their boards quoted, built, or delivered. They went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy and then straight to Chapter 7 and died and very quick and sudden death. But I think they might have got that mission statement done, though.
Then there is the board shop owner whose motto was, “We’re not worse than anyone else.” I am not kidding.
Then there was the director of engineering who grew tired of hearing the sales team complain about the company’s poor quality and delivery. He stood up and yelled, “Why don’t you guys just shut up and go sell boards that we can build here?”
To which some smart ass director of sales (who shall remain nameless) responded, “Oh, like overpriced, poor quality boards that are always late?”
You can’t make this stuff up.
Oh, and let’s not forget that company president who was having a hard time booking enough business, so he decided he needed to have a lay-off. He let his entire sales team go. Actually, more than one company can lay claim to this story
Or, did you hear the one about the company that hated its customers so much that they got together every day to have a bitching session about them? They even went so far as holding an election to vote for the absolute worst customer. Have you heard that one?
Just one more, I promise. This is getting to be sadistic, I know. There was a company that insisted that those four-layer boards they were quoting were really $1,200 each, even though the last time they built them the price had been $80, because the new system was spewing a new price of $1,200 each!
Yes, I promise you these are all true stories. Some of them I have heard from other people, while others I have lived through myself. Ah, the good old days.
But there is a glimmer of hope: Not one of these stories is more recent than 15 years ago. Most of them occurred in the late ‘90s. I am happy to report that times have changed, and we are all getting a little bit better. Most board shops of today are better-run than the ones cited in these horror stories, and most board shops try to be the best they can be at all times. Most board shops try to provide their customers with everything they need to be successful. They try to service their customers to the best of their ability…at all times.
But then again, when I say most board shops today, I mean the fewer than 200 that are left in the US. Over 1,000 US board shops have gone out of business. Could the aforementioned bad actors bear some responsibility for that turn of events? Hmmm…I wonder.
We all know that companies must grow or they will die. The same thing applies to rep firms. You must keep growing your business, adding new customers, and increasing your sales, or you too will die. Too many times reps will find three or four major customers and then rely on them for their income going forward. Not only is this a very bad move, but it also drives their principals crazy. I can’t count the number of times my clients have told me that they can’t get their reps to find new business any more. They say something like, “sure they have brought us a couple of good accounts and we are all making money on those, but now I can’t get them to find me some new accounts. They have not brought in a new account in two years!” This is an extremely bad scenario but unfortunately one that is often true. If you are a rep and you find yourself in this example you’d better do something about it because this is the number one reason that rep firms are terminated from long-time contracts. The principals, growing increasingly impatient with the lack of activity on the part of their reps end up cutting them lose. Don’t let this happen to you.
Being a sales representative means that you are always out there selling. You’re a sales rep after all
To help you out a little, here are seven ways to prospect for new accounts;
- Who are you looking for: You have to know what you are looking for in a customer. This should not be that hard, examine who your principals are what they sell and that will tell you the kind of companies and technologies to target.
- Create an ideal customer profile: Once you have determined what type of companies you service and what their technology requirements are, develop an ideal customer profile. This profile will include be made up of customer characteristics such as: Technology, service, market, value for your services, ease of doing business with, and a number of others. (I can send you a complete ideal customer profile development form if you would like on, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
- If you are a smart rep you’ll have a portfolio of a number of non-competing lines selling different technologies of the same basic product, this is a good thing because it allows you to get more bang for your prospecting buck. One potential customer could need more products from more than just one of your lines. A company that buys PCBs for example could have a need to everything from Military rigid PCBs to Flex and Rigid Flex boards to Heavy copper boards. Which means that you can sell them a complete PCB solution using two or three of your lines.
- The approach: One you have decided which type of customers you are going to target the next step is match those types with real companies. By going online, with surprisingly little effort you can find the companies you want to target by matching their needs with the ideal customer profile template you have developed. By doing this you will develop your list of target accounts
- Warming up a cold call: the next step is to approach these targets. You could call them directly but I recommend doing a little more prep work before you do that. Develop an e-mail newsletter specifically focused on those companies you have targeted. Send two or three of these over a month-long period. After a while you’ll pick up a trend of who is opening these e-mails and reading them and from that list you can send a very specific e-mail newsletter outlining how you can help them fill their specific PCB needs, this is what we call warming up the cold call.
- The cold call: or in your case the nicely warmed up call. By now they know your name, they know who your and have a good idea what you have to offer. This is the time to call and set up your live meeting. You will be pleasantly surprised how much easier this will be now that you did all your prep work.
- The big meeting: yes that first appointment. Once again preparation is key. Research the company and find out everything you can about them so that you are fully prepared when you make that first sales call. Make a call plan and write down what you want to get out of this sales call. In many cases all you’re going to do is establish rapport with the person you are meeting; and your goals should be to learn about his company and their needs. Try to ask more questions than you answer in other words shut up and listen. For that first meeting to be successful you have to get two things: first what are that target company’s PCB needs and second what do you have to do to win their business and oh yes there is one more, get a commitment for the next step. Once you leave the meeting make a summary of all that you covered including any commitments that the buyer made to you and send this to her in an email.
And in the spirit of under promising and over delivering there is one more step and that is to follow up in a way that goes beyond the normal follow up that the buyer is expecting. Send her a book or an article about something the she talked about and that pertains to her job or her company. That way you are completing that circle of engagement on two fronts, the first business as usual on a vendor/customer basis, while the second front establishes the engagement on a more equal partnership basis which is the way you want to go and grow all great customer relationships. It’s only common sense.
Book Recommendation – Primal Teams: Harnessing the Power of Emotions to Fuel Extraordinary Performance
A book recommendation from Dan Beaulieu:
Primal Teams: Harnessing the Power of Emotions to Fuel Extraordinary Performance
By Jackie Barretta
Copyright 2015 Amacom
Pages: 228 with Index
Harnessing Emotions to improve your business
After years of business being based on emotionless company dedication. Years when companies like Sgt. Friday wanted “the facts…just the facts” we have finally reached the time when people in companies are realizing that people’s emotions can be used as a vital fulcrum to a company achieving its goals and driving it to levels of success well beyond its dreams.
In this new book worthy of business in the 21syt century primal emotion consultant Jackie Barretta puts her well founded theories to work. She shows the reader how to use emotional stimulation to get the most out of their associates.
Think about this for a minute, if you can create an environment where people get excited nay passionate about what they are doing. If you can get them to believe with their heart and soul as well as their minds in your company’s goal they will follow you to the ends of the earth to make sure that your company becomes number one. This only makes sense.
Barrette uses some real life examples to show how this has worked out with companies in the past. Citing examples from world class companies like Apple, Google and IBM she proves without a doubt that allowing teams to bring in their emotions, their passions and their life goals and incorporating them into every day operations has lifted teams way beyond the normal levels on inspired involvement.
This is a book on the future available today. If you are ready to get into 21st century motivational management where you use your associate’s best passions to drive their own performances as well as the company’s this is the book to read.
People are always at their best when they believe. Anything can happen when people believe that it can happen. Jackie Barretta has made a living showing people how to do just that. Now you can learn from her and apply these strategies to your company as well.
A fantastic deal for twenty five bucks.